He’s only 36 years old.
He’s not presently a judge, nor has he ever been.
Beyond that, he’s a lawyer who’s never tried a case.
With that lack of qualifications, Brett Talley couldn’t get himself elected to the Racine County Circuit Court for a six-year term.
He certainly isn’t qualified for a lifetime appointment as a United States judge. But Talley, nominated by President Donald Trump to serve in the Federal District Court in Alabama, is on the verge of that appointment.
Talley received a rare “not qualified” rating from the American Bar Association. His nomination advanced through the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday on a party-line vote.
If that list of shortcomings isn’t enough to persuade you to join our call for his withdrawal, here’s People’s Exhibit F, as in Failure to Disclose: Talley did not disclose on publicly available congressional documents that he is married to a senior lawyer in the White House Counsel’s Office, the New York Times reported Nov. 13.
Talley is married to Ann Donaldson, the chief of staff to the White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II. Talley was asked on his publicly released Senate questionnaire to identify family members and others who are “likely to present potential conflicts of interest.” He did not mention his wife.
As President Trump can surely tell you by now, district judges often provide the first ruling when laws are called into question, decisions that could be met with the approval or disapproval White House and its lawyers. Last month, for example, judges in Hawaii and Maryland temporarily blocked the president’s travel ban.
Talley also did not mention his wife when he described his frequent contact with White House lawyers during the nomination process.
Asked directly, while seeking a federal judgeship, whether he had a family member who could present a conflict of interest for him, Talley did not mention that his wife is in a position of authority in the sitting president’s administration.
If Talley does not withdraw from consideration for the appointment, the Senate should reject him 100-0.
After that, the Trump administration should go back to the drawing board; surely it can find a member of the Alabama Bar who’s actually served as a judge. Or has tried a case.